Manchester Travel Guide

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Manchester Wheel

Manchester Wheel

Jennifer Farthing

Manchester was once mainly known as an industrial city -in fact it was the world's first- and as home of one of the biggest and most successful football clubs in the world. But now Manchester has a cultural life to rival that of London. The city boasts some of the most interesting galleries and museums in the UK, such as the Museum of Science and Industry, the Whitworth for modern art, the City Art Gallery, the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum North.

The city centre, concentrated around Piccadilly, has had a new impulse with the establishment of several famous brand stores, including Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. Or visit one of Europe's largest malls at the Trafford Centre where you can 'shop 'til you drop' under cover. And every Christmas there are European Christmas Markets in Albert and St Ann's squares - a little taste of Vienna in England. While you're in Albert Square you can book a guided walking tour of the city, or take a tour of the fantastically gothic Town Hall - often used in movies and television.

Besides that, there are still lots of second-hand stores where you can trace that novel or record you were already searching for all your life. And of course, Manchester is also known for the bands it produces. New talent always finds a stage and a ready ear in one of the many pubs, cafes and clubs the nightlife scene has to offer.

Chinatown, near Piccadilly Gardens, offers, besides several shops, charming eating houses where excellent food is served. A few miles south of the city centre, in Rusholme, fans of Indian food will find plenty of restaurants along the famous "curry mile".

Make sure you visit the glorious piece of modern architecture that is the Lowry Centre, home to two theatres and a permanent Lowry exhibition, as well as a constantly changing series of exhibitions. Then pop across the stunning new pedestrian swing bridge to the other side of the famous Ship Canal and visit the incredible- and free - Imperial War Museum North. Make sure you catch the extraordinary movie show there, when the whole building becomes the cinema screen. Finally, stroll back across the bridge for a little light shopping in the fabulous designer outlet before catching dinner and a show back in the Lowry Centre.

Fancy a trip out into the country? Then the dark peaks of Derbyshire and the rolling plains of Cheshire are a short journey away.  A stop in Manchester is absolutely worth your while.

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